Vaccine update and what lies ahead

Having heard of some people who have had it, I earlier posed the question of how the vaccine is going. As my father (92, in a Birmingham nursing home, hasn’t yet had it) nor a relative just across the border in Devon (97), I wondered how it is rolling out in our area. The responses so far have been very positive. Reassuring that the vaccine is actually happening, albeit with regional variations.

Locally, here are a few responses:

Ella said: I’ve had my first dose, with the second dose booked and think it’s fantastic. There’s certainly a feeling of security after having it. Especially as I work on the frontline, having looked after those who have contracted the virus. I believe that everyone who is able to receive it, should!

Carole said: My parents 91 & 88 were called for it but when I rang to arrange an automated voicemail said it had all gone and they’d be contacted again. Nothing as yet, 2 weeks later.

Jan’s experience was positive: My parents got theirs – very efficient via Neetside at Holsworthy Medical Centre. I rang up as soon as they got their letter. The problem seems to be shortage of vaccines.

Carol Ann explained: I live in Chippenham, Wiltshire, am still employed by the NHS as Admin/Receptionist, so frontline staff, at the ripe age of 68! I received my 1st Pfizer vaccination yesterday (yes up here they’re doing weekends too) …  it feels like, as more people are vaccinated, we can start to live again …  They will get everyone vaccinated … unfortunately it takes time and, of course, great organisational skills by those managing the logistics… ordering vaccinations, getting staff – doctors on hand to ensure you are well enough to receive it/ to help in case of the extremely rare anaphylactic reaction, those who will administer the vaccine, admin/support staff to deal with forms/database so everyone gets it and in order of priority. A lot of hard work is going on behind the scenes. Bude being out on a limb from Truro, will have their work cut out to get delivery of Pfizer due to storage problems but I do think that now the AstraZeneca is starting to be rolled out that things will start to move for you all. In the meantime look after yourselves and keep safe.

Lesley: My husband, 83 had both done at Bodmin Treatment centre 3 weeks apart. Booked from GP surgery. A very efficient system throughout.

John: My second jab is this afternoon. Many thanks to Stratton Medical Centre and Ruby Country Medical Group.

Jane: We have a clinic today at Holsworthy Medical Centre to complete second dose for our 80y+ patients, and have completed 400 care home residents and staff.We hope to get more vaccines in the next couple of weeks for the remainder of our 80y+ patients and then we will invite the 75-80 cohort before moving on to younger patients.

PhotoLizM / Pixabay

Info from the Government’s Minister Nadhim Zahawi:

Friday’s authorisation of the Moderna vaccine for (coronavirus) COVID-19 means we will, by spring, have 3 safe and effective vaccines to use.

Some 1.5 million people have got the jab already and this number is accelerating rapidly.

Tomorrow we’re launching our full vaccine deployment plan – the culmination of months of preparation and hard work by the NHS, the Armed Forces, and local and regional government at every level.

The basic principle that sits behind it is to save as many lives as possible, as quickly as possible. It’s also essential we reduce hospitalisations from this disease, so we can reduce the pressure on our NHS.

To achieve that, we have an ambitious plan to protect our most vulnerable groups first, because they account for more than 4 out of 5 COVID deaths. We want to offer the vaccine to the top 4 most vulnerable groups by the middle of February.

Meanwhile, before we all get too optimistic, the Chief Medical Officer, Chris Whitty says:

We have faced several grave moments during our battle against coronavirus. But right now, the country is perhaps facing the most serious yet.

The new, more transmissible variant of this disease is spreading rapidly across the country and having tragic consequences. On Monday the 4 UK Chief Medical Officers and the NHS Medical Director recommended raising the national alert level to the maximum of level 5 for the first time. This means that without further action there is a material risk of our healthcare services being overwhelmed within 21 days. Since then the situation has deteriorated further.

Hospitals are always busy in the winter but the NHS in some parts of the country is currently facing the most dangerous situation anyone can remember. If the virus continues on its current trajectory many hospitals will be in real difficulties, and very soon. This means that the time people wait for care will continue to increase to potentially unsafe levels, hospitals won’t have room to take redirected emergency cases in regional networks, staff to patient ratios which are already stretched will become unacceptable even in places likes intensive care. There will be avoidable deaths. NHS staff are doing their absolute best, and working remarkably; we all owe them a huge debt of gratitude, but even they have limits.

The public have made an extraordinary effort so far. Of course we are all tired of restrictions, but we need to find the collective strength to get through this critical stage and save as many lives as we can. The advice right now is unambiguous: to drive the numbers down, we must stay home except for work, exercise and essential activities. Every unnecessary interaction you have could be the link in a chain of transmission which has a vulnerable person at the end.

These restrictions will not last forever. Science has delivered new vaccines, drugs and tests, with more on the way, in record time. People will be reunited. Vaccines and new treatments offer us hope and a clear way out. But we are not there yet, and should not act as if we are.

We still have weeks to go before vaccines will start reducing COVID deaths and, some weeks later, the number of people being hospitalised. We cannot afford to let our justified optimism for the future come at the expense of difficult action today. That means for now staying home and avoiding all unnecessary contacts. By following the rules, we will save lives and help normal life return more swiftly.

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